Church hands out $125,000 to attendees with one simple request: Pay it forward

Members at a Texas church got blessed with “joyful generosity” from their pastor during Sunday’s service, but now it’s their turn to be a blessing.

Pastor Paul Mussachio gifted attendees at Preston Meadow Lutheran Church in Plano with envelopes holding various amounts of money totaling $125,000.

“Best surprise ever!” one member tweeted. “I can’t wait to figure out how to spend it to bless others. What a great lesson on giving for my kids.”

The move shocked a lot of members.

“What? How much?” Bibs Toney, who was there Sunday, told Fox 4. “That’s a lot of money!”

Preston Meadow Lutheran Church

Preston Meadow Lutheran Church in Plano, Texas gave congregants $125,000 to pay it forward before Easter Sunday.  (Google maps)

Each person or family opened an envelope that had a blank check totaling either $250, $500, or $1,000 with a simple request: cash it before Easter Sunday, and instead of giving it back to the church, look for ways to pay it forward, especially for those in need.

“The instructions are pretty simple,” Mussachio told the congregation. “Whatever the greatest need is in your life right now, whatever God is placing on your heart, give to that.”

They also received a pamphlet about the giving project.

Preston pamphlet 1

A pamphlet about a giving project at a church in Plano, Texas.  (Preston Meadow Lutheran Church)

“We are blessed to be a blessing, so look for those around you who are in need of this kind of blessing right now,” the instructions on a pamphlet read. “People near or far to you, strangers, organizations close to your heart or our church.”

Preston pamphlet 2

A pamphlet about a giving project at a church in Plano, Texas.  (Preston Meadow Lutheran Church)

The message included the Bible verse, Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

Mussachio said generosity is one of the main values at their church.

“Generosity, we believe, isn’t how much you have or how much you give, but it is who you are toward other people in life, and we wanted to live that out in a big way,” the pastor said in a video online.

The large sum of money handed out to congregants was donated by a few members after a similar, successful experiment with fourth-graders in their church were given much smaller amounts.

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Now, the generous acts are playing out, and the church’s website has a landing page for anyone who wants to share their story of giving or receiving the money.

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke